Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for 2014

1. Climb more stairs.
2. Eat more food.

Hey, I'm just trying to be realistic! If I really go all out on #1 then #2 is going to happen anyway. ;)

2013 was a rough year for me. For two straight years I stuck to the plan. I climbed a minimum of 20 extra flights of stairs each and every day. Our cat died in the spring of 2013 and some weight started going back on. Like many, I eat more when I'm feeling down. I stuck to the plan just the same though.

In July of 2013, I seriously sprained my ankle. It happened at a rest stop 250 miles from home. I drove the rest of the way and then went straight to the emergency room. Based on its current condition and the swelling, they gave me the talk about how fractures aren't so bad. Fortunately, it wasn't fractured. It was an extremely bad sprain though. It prevented me from doing any climbing at all for months (unless one counts hobbling around the house on crutches), which completely took out the entire summer's hiking season. The lack of activity also put a nail in my weight loss coffin. Needless to say, I was feeling down. Sigh.

Speaking of injuries, our dog Honey has been through many surgeries in the past year or so (to the tune of $12,000+ in various vet bills, liver surgery being the biggest). Her most recent surgery was to have several teeth removed. That was just a few weeks ago. They broke while she was playing with her soft toys. Yeah, soft. Even the vet can't understand how she did that. She said her teeth were really strong and hard to extract, what was left of them anyway. It's a mystery within a conundrum. She's doing excellent right now though and if asked, she'd definitely say the medical attention was worth it. They believe she can live out her normal lifespan.

So anyway, hopefully much of that bad news is now behind me. I've got some pent-up climbing demand and I intend to put it to work. I've been planning to make 2014 a banner year. Midlife crisis? I don't think it is but I would not swear to it in court, lol. I was a bit discouraged recently because my ankle still isn't back to 100% (nearly 6 months later). I slowed down my pace considerably in recent weeks and my ankle is doing pretty well in response. Surprisingly, my legs are holding up great. I did several marathon sessions recently as a test. The forced rest has not hampered my leg strength to a noticeable degree.

The past few months were spent climbing enough to reset the time on the stair climber to a nice starting point in preparation for 2014 (much of it at 50 feet per minute in 5 minute sprints). That's 0 months, 18 days, 0 hours, and 0 minutes of climbing since I purchased it roughly 14 years ago (minus a trivial amount of time that was on it when I bought it new).

I'm going to climb at a consistent 25 feet per minute in 2014. It's a leisurely pace that I can maintain fairly indefinitely. I would have set the pace higher if not for my ankle, but it will be plenty sufficient for what I intend to do. It's definitely enough to make me sweat, especially at the one hour mark (700+ calories per hour at my present weight).

50 miles of vertical is my minimum goal. It will take me 10,560 minutes. That's exactly 7 days and 8 hours of exercise. I'll need to average roughly 30 minutes per day (slightly more than that to cover when I'm potentially sick or out of town of course).


Or bust! That's the minimum time I wish to see a year from now. You won't be getting any updates between now and December 31, 2014. No record keeping this time. I'm letting the climber do the work. I promise to make every effort to post its time on that day (the exception being anything outside of my control), and that should be reason enough to keep me motivated. I like games and this is definitely a game now. This game starts at midnight! This is in addition to any hiking/climbing I do in the real world next summer (and I plan to do plenty).

As a side note, I would not consider doing this had I not turned climbing 20 flights of stairs each and every day into a nearly permanent habit (ankle injury notwithstanding) several years ago. Baby steps for the win.

It is also my intent to make climbing 20 flights of stairs each and every day a permanent habit again. Seems odd to use the "again" word, but it is the best I can do. Would you believe that I actually asked the nurse in the emergency room if I could simply scoot up the stairs on my butt 20 times per day just to keep the habit going? She told me no! The ankle needs to remain elevated and get rest! Seriously. (I'm fairly sure she thought I was nuts for asking. I just really didn't want to end the streak! Hahaha!)

And lastly, Happy New Year!! May prosperity flow like warm slop to pigs on a cold frosty morning! Bliss! Or something like that anyway. Feel free to come up with a better analogy. ;)


TJandTheBear said...

Kudos to you for taking excptional care of your furry family member!

Who Struck John said...

Sorry to hear of the injuries to you and yours; I hope the coming year is much better.

I've done my bit for irrational economic consumption in late 2013 and plan to cut back to more spartan levels in the new year.

Stagflationary Mark said...


They are our kids. That said, I don't think I would have agreed to do it if it had all happened at once. It was spread out over the year under the assumption that each time she'd be healthy once treated.

The teeth were a no brainer of course (at $1000). It was obvious that it would not affect her long-term health.

At $5000, the liver surgery was difficult. She's 10. I needed them to tell me that it wasn't just a temporary fix. They said it wasn't. So far, so good. I'm amazed at how fast she recovered after the 10" incision on her belly. Mind boggling. She's only a 50 pound dog.

I feel for those who can't afford it. I'm not even sure I can over the long-term. I absorbed it. That's about all I can say. In the battle between more material possessions and a loyal happy dog, I'd choose the latter every time. I don't have any regrets. She seems to be doing great.

I watched my last dog (Bogi) die of mouth cancer. Now that was tough. They couldn't offer me great odds that surgery could have solved that one and they would have needed to take most of her jaw in the attempt. She was an older dog (about 13 if memory serves). There was no easy answer on what to do. We indulged her in her last months. Gave her a last meal of raw hamburger and the vet put her down on our kitchen floor. Sad day.

And yet, I never regret those 13 years together. She was such a great dog. Always happy to see me. Never complained. Too bad more people can't learn from them (perhaps myself included).

Stagflationary Mark said...

Who Struck John,

Things may be taking a turn for the better. My girlfriend starts a new part time job, in theory, on January 2nd. It's been years!

Perhaps the "be kind to your pets and good things will happen" karma gods are shining down on us. Knock on simulated Made in China veneered wood product!

I've done my bit for irrational economic consumption in late 2013 and plan to cut back to more spartan levels in the new year.

Spartan? Oddly enough, I spent less than 300 on Christmas this year.

This is blasphemy! This is madness!

Just doing my part to keep the vet bill to seasonal shopping ratio at 40 to 1. Priorities! :)

Our high school mascot was the Spartans. Perhaps that's not a coincidence. We were always being spartan. Hahaha! Seriously.

Rob Dawg said...

My new grill cost almost $300. Am I bad?

TJandTheBear said...

Bad Dawg! ;-)

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg (& TJandTheBear),

$300 Grill! ;)

Rob Dawg said...

Bad Mark!

Troy said...

Hopefully those 18 days of exercise will give you 19+ more days of quality life, otherwise it's like buying negative TIPS and getting gipped on the adjustment!


is my graph. . .

The last, great departure in that graph is the 20 days of housesitting I did in September. That was awesome!

I added actual mild jogging to the mix this year, to good effect I guess, though the wear and tear is worrisome, I might switch to cycling now, even though it takes 20 miles of cycling to replicate a half mile of jogging, given the lack of hills where I am.

Here's hoping 2014 will be better than 2013 for you and yours. We're now in the middle of the decade, and I'm moving from my middle 40s to late 40s this year.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

I was only good for the first 50 minutes of 2014? Oh well. At least it wasn't a broken New Year's resolution, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Hopefully those 18 days of exercise will give you 19+ more days of quality life, otherwise it's like buying negative TIPS and getting gipped on the adjustment!


There is a strong correlation between me being less happy and me being overweight. It works both ways too. They are both causes and they are both effects.

Further, the payback on exercise is immediate. I never finish working out with, "WTF did I just do that?" Hahaha!

That's what made 2013 really suck for me though. Due to my sprained ankle, missed the hiking reward in the Pacific Northwest. This was my happiest day of 2012. No doubt about it.

You are doing awesome! In sharp contrast, I've gained back most of what I lost in a downward spiral of forced inactivity.

That's changing today though. I'm very optimistic about 2014. At least I'm not starting from scratch. I know my legs and heart can handle what I have planned for them. :)